With Chelsea preparing to take on Arsenal this weekend, it’s time for a little trip down memory lane to one of the most memorable encounters between the two London rivals from back in March 2014.
The Gunners had arrived at Stamford Bridge in celebratory mood for what was Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game in charge of the club, although his counterpart Jose Mourinho – whom he’d often shared a frosty relationship with – seemed intent on spoiling the party.
In truth, the Portuguese and his players did much more than that, handing their rivals a downright derby day humiliation, with the hosts running out emphatic 6-0 winners on a chastening afternoon for the visitors that all but ended any lingering title hopes.
Two ahead inside just seven minutes, the Blues lead was then extended by Eden Hazard from the penalty spot after just 17 minutes, with the Gunners’ Kieran Gibbs dismissed for handball despite what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity with teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Brazilian midfielder Oscar made it four just before the interval, before his second and a first Premier League goal for Mo Salah after the break rubbed further salt into the wounds for the away side.
With Thomas Tuchel’s side hoping for a similar outcome on Sunday afternoon, let’s take a look at the starting XI that wreaked havoc seven years ago.
Goalkeeper – Petr Cech
One of two players on this list to have turned out for both clubs, Petr Cech is arguably one of the finest stoppers in Premier League history and is fondly remembered on both sides of this London divide.
While he was nearing the end of his time with the Blues in 2014, eventually going on to end his 11-year association with the club to join Arsenal a year later, the Czech Republic international was far from on the wane at the time, notably making a super stop to deny Olivier Giroud in the opening few minutes.
That moment aside, however, it proved to be a fairly comfortable afternoon’s work for the veteran stopper, as he registered one of his 202 total Premier League clean sheets – the most since its inception in 1992.
He also holds the record for the most shutouts in a single top-flight campaign with 24 clean sheets during the 2004/05 season, with that year also seeing him – and Chelsea – concede a league-record low of 15 goals all season en route to a first league title under Mourinho.
Right-back – Branislav Ivanovic
One of the best bargains in the club’s history, the Serbian defender arrived at Stamford Bridge as a relative unknown for a fee of just £9m back 2008, before going on to develop into one of the best and most consistent full-back’s in top-flight history.
In his stellar, trophy-laden nine-year stint in London he won three Premier League titles, three FA Cup’s and the Champions League League – among others – while he also registered an impressive tally for a defender of 34 goals in 377 appearances in all competitions for the club.
While there was to be no goal for right-back against the Gunners in the 6-0 thrashing, he was his usual industrious self down the right flank and provided the much need defensive cover to allow the attacking talents ahead of him to shine.
After leaving the club in 2017 to join Zenit St Petersburg, he made what looks to be a final return to English football to join West Bromwich Albion last term, albeit with the club eventually suffering relegation. He is currently without a club.
Centre-back – John Terry
The archetypal defensive stalwart, John Terry is a certified Chelsea legend having captained the club during arguably the finest and most successful period in its long history.
Having made his first-team debut in 1998, it wasn’t until the 2000/01 campaign that he truly established himself in the side, before going on to play a pivotal role in Mourinho’s magnificent side that romped to back-to-back titles in the mid-naughties.
He would go on to play his part in three more title successes over the next decade or so, while also helping the club to Champions League glory in 2012, the England international memorably celebrating on the pitch in his full kit after full-time despite having missed the showpiece through suspension.
His lengthy stint with the club came to an end in 2017 as he moved on for a solitary season in the second tier with Aston Villa. He recently left Villa Park after having spent the last three years as assistant coach.
Centre-back – Gary Cahill
An underrated member of this side, Gary Cahill forged a superb partnership with the man above following his move to the club in January 2012, going on to start the Champions League final against Bayern Munich later that season despite still nursing an injury.
The former Bolton Wanderers man would go on to spend seven more years at the club, clinching two league titles and two FA Cup’s, before sealing a switch to Crystal Palace in 2019.
After two successful years at Selhurst Park, the veteran centre-back was one of a number of players who were let go from the Eagles this summer, with it yet to be seen where his next move will be.
Left-back – Cesar Azpilicueta
Like his fellow full-back Ivanovic, Cesar Azpilicueta is another who must be looked back on as a real bargain acquisition for the club, having joined from Marseille in August 2012 for a fee of around £7m.
A versatile defender who can seemingly play anywhere across the backline, the Spaniard spent much of his early Blues career at left-back as Ashley Cole’s involvement began to dwindle, before eventually developing into a hugely effective right-sided centre-back in a back three, as well as a reliable presence at wing-back.
Currently the only member of this side still at the club, the 31-year-old was appointed club captain in 2019 and continues to be a key man for new boss Thomas Tuchel.
Like much of the rest of this defence, his job was relatively straightforward in the 6-0 thrashing with Arsenal rarely posing a threat.
Midfield – David Luiz
The second member on this list to have played for both Chelsea and Arsenal, David Luiz enjoyed two hugely successful spells with the Blues, initially joining the club in 2011 from Benfica.
An at times almost Jekyll and Hyde figure due to his knack of being either defensively superb or irritatingly erratic, the Brazilian is one of the more polarising players of recent times, yet has continued to enjoy a lengthy career at the top level nonetheless.
While usually deployed in central defence, he lined up as a defensive midfielder for the clash with the Gunners, with the role utilising his unquestionable talent on the ball.
He would depart Stamford Bridge at the end of the 2013/14 season to join Paris Saint-Germain in a £50m, before returning to Chelsea two years later for a reduced fee, going on to help Antonio Conte’s side to the title.
He joined the Gunners for £8m in 2019, yet after a turbulent few years, he left for free at the end of last season.
Midfield – Nemanja Matic
Currently with rivals Manchester United, Nemanja Matic originally made the switch to London in 2009, before agreeing to join Benfica two years later as part of the deal to take Luiz to Stamford Bridge.
After impressing in Portugal, Mourinho brought the Serbian back to Chelsea in January 2014, with his performance against Arsenal an early indication of just how effective he can be in a defensive midfield role, as he simply ran the show in the centre of the park and laid on two assists.
At his peak, his ability to drive out with the ball at his feet was unrivalled, while he memorably forged a superb partnership with N’Golo Kante during the 2016/17 title-winning campaign under Conte, before making the shock move to Old Trafford at the end of that season.
Attacking Midfield – Oscar
The star of the show against the Gunners, Oscar netted either side of half-time in the match to put the victory beyond doubt, his display at the time a further illustration of just how talented he was.
The Brazilian had made the move to England in 2012 from Internacional, quickly forcing his way into the starting XI and forming a ridiculously talented attacking trio alongside Eden Hazard and Juan Mata.
With the latter man falling out favour under Mourinho and eventually joining the Red Devils in January 2014, Oscar became an even more important figurehead of the side, finishing the 2013/14 campaign with eight top-flight goals.
Nevertheless, both injury and a lack of form halted his progress over the next few seasons, culminating in his eventual departure to Chinese side Shanghai Port in 2017. The 29-year-old is still currently plying his trade for the club.
Right-wing – Andre Schurrle
Another goalscorer on the day, Andre Schurrle netted his side’s second inside just seven minutes, cutting in onto his left foot before firing past a helpless Wojciech Szczesny, having already teed up teammate Samuel Eto’o for the opener just moments earlier.
His strike was one of eight league goals he would score in his debut campaign at the club, having joined from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2013, yet despite that impressive tally he never seemingly settled and struggled for a regular game time under Mourinho.
The following season saw him earn a league winners medal despite having spent the second-half of the campaign on-loan at Wolfsburg, the forward going on to join the German side permanently before switching to fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in 2016.
In truth, that move never worked out as he was sent out on-loan to Fulham in 2018 – a club he had scored a hat-trick against for the Blues – and Spartak Moscow the year after, before the World Cup winner announced his retirement at the age of just 29 in July 2020.
Left-wing – Eden Hazard
The star of the Chelsea side for so long, Eden Hazard netted the third goal of the game against Arsene Wenger’s side, the Belgian converting from the penalty spot after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s blatant handball, albeit with teammate Kieran Gibbs the man who was bizarrely shown the straight red.
The fleet-footed forward had joined the club from Lille in 2012 following Chelsea’ Champions League triumph, going on to quickly cement his status as one of, if not the most talented player in the Premier League.
While a regular goalscorer during his seven-year spell with the club, registering 85 goals in 245 league appearances, Hazard’s most notable attribute was his dribbling prowess and ability to at times drag his side to victory with a moment of sheer magic.
Incidentally, he netted arguably one of his most memorable goals in a Chelsea shirt against Arsenal in the 2016/17 campaign, the winger picking the ball from just inside the centre circle and weaving his way through the opposition defence to score, notably shrugging Francis Coquelin to the ground en route.
Since leaving the club to join Real Madrid in 2019 the player has suffered with both injury and a lack of fitness, yet there still remains time for him to get back to somewhere near his best.
Forward – Samuel Eto’o
Samuel Eto’o spent just one season at Stamford Bridge after joining the club in 2013, yet left with his head held high having scored a respectable tally of nine goals in just 21 league appearances.
Formerly an integral part of Mourinho’s treble-winning Inter Milan side back in 2010, the Cameroon international opted to reunite with his former boss in London, going on to net memorably net a hat-trick against Manchester United in January 2014.
Having also opened the scoring in a 4-0 win against Tottenham on 8 March, the prolific forward then repeated the feat against Arsenal a week later, scoring after just five minutes to set his side on course for their rampant thrashing, albeit while also being forced off with injury soon after.
He would go on to spend six months at Everton the following season, before ending his career in 2019 after brief spells in Italy, Turkey and Qatar.
An early substitute as a replacement for Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres made his mark in the game, teeing up Oscar for his side’s fourth just before half-time.
In truth, however, his stay in London never truly did work out, as he failed to recapture the devastating form that he had shown for a brief time at rivals Liverpool. That being said, he wrote his name into Chelsea folklore by netting that late goal against Barcelona that secured the club’s place in their first-ever Champions League final.
John Obi Mikel
An unfashionable but reliable presence in midfield for the Blues for over a decade, John Obi Mikel entered the fray against the Gunners as a late replacement for David Luiz.
He had endured a bizarre start to life at the club, having seemingly agreed to sign for rivals Manchester United in 2005, before eventually joining Chelsea a year later after a long dispute. He never really hit the heights to warrant such a tussle for his services, yet was a valued squad member until his departure in 2017.
Has enjoyed spells at both Middlesborough and Stoke in recent years and currently plies his trade for Kuwait SC.
Mo Salah netted his first ever Premier League goal in the game to add some late gloss to the scoreline, having come off the bench to replace Oscar after 67 minutes.
He would go on to score just one more league goal for the club before departing, initially on-loan, in 2014, yet he has since returned to set these shores alight with Liverpool and currently has a league winners medal and a Champions League triumph under his belt, as well as 96 league goals to his name for the Reds.
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Author: Robbie Walls